There is one country I have been to pre- blog, I loved it yet I never wrote about it. I’m talking about Iceland. On numerous occasions you ask me about this country, how much time I’ve spent there, what I’ve visited and how was my Iceland 7 days itinerary.
Since I’m being attacked with all the offers of cheap flights to Iceland and I really would love to go back I feel it’s about the time I write about my trip there! And, unlike most of the people I know, I did it without renting a car, simply because I don’t have a drivers license and I was travelling on a budget in Iceland and solo, as usual.
I’m sure that renting a car during your Iceland travel is much better option, it gives you the flexibility to see everything interesting around or to stop every 5 minutes during your Iceland road trip for yet another picture of the breathtaking landscape around.
This was actually my biggest pain there, I wished I could have taken the picture of just about everything, it was just too beautiful (and still, I brought some 1700 pictures from my 7 days in Iceland…). This really is the country with one of the most stunning landscapes on Earth and I believe everyone should visit Iceland at least once in the lifetime!
So, if you are a lucky person who is heading to Iceland and doesn’t know yet what to do there my 7 days itinerary might come handy for you!
Planning a trip to Iceland? Here are the services I always use and personally recommend:
- Accommodation: I always book a place to stay on Booking.com
- Tours: when I decide to go on a tour I either use Viator
- To save money on exchange rates I’ve been using Revolut card for years now. Order your bank card here.
- Get insured for your trip to Iceland with SafetyWing
Day 1 – Reykjavik
I took the early morning flight from London and was in Reykjavik already before the noon. This gave me plenty of time to see the city that is rather compact anyway.
I walked along the waterfront to see the famous Sun Voyager sculpture – one of the symbols of Reykjavik. I admired the modern architecture of Harpa – a concert hall and conference center. I relaxed at the pond in the center, next to the Reykjavik city hall.
But the highlight of the day (and Reykjavik in total) was going up the tower of Hallgrimskirkja – the second highest building in the country. The view from there is simply amazing with rows of colorful wooden houses and mountains in the background. You see it at most of postcards from Reykjavik but it surely deserved that position!
After Hallgrimskirkja I just wandered around the center, sat down for tea in one of the cute cafes and simply enjoyed Reykjavik.
Day 2 – Southern Iceland
This was the day when I first saw why everyone is raving about Iceland so much. I spent the whole day in southern part of Iceland, visiting some of the most famous places there: black beaches of Vik and waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. We also stopped to take a look at the glacier (that was the first one in my life!) or the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano that caused so many problems in Europe in 2010 (it doesn’t look harmful at all!).
All day long the views were simply amazing, I sat glued to the window or wandered around in awe. That’s when I understood the whole hype about Iceland, it really is stunning!
Click here to see the full itinerary and book Southern Iceland tour from Reykjavik.
Day 3 – Akureyri
I took the morning flight to Akureyri, second biggest town in Iceland, located in the north. The flight time is less than an hour and this must be the most scenic plane journeys I’ve ever taken, crossing the whole interior of Iceland and flying just above the mountains.
This was also the most stressful flight – the plane was tiny, the wind was strong and couple of times we fell into the hole. Akureyri airport is one of the most difficult to land at, the runway is located on the water, with high mountains around and only the best pilots land here so I just believed they know what they are doing.
Once I was safely on the ground I walked to the town center (it’s only a little bit over 3 kms from the airport) and spent the day getting to know Akureyri. It is a really pleasant, somehow sleepy town with gorgeous views around.
The highlights of Akureyri are the distinctive big church designed by the same person as famous Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik or the botanical garden but the whole town is a great place to spend a relaxing day.
Day 4 – Myvatn
The reason why I went to Akureyri was to visit Myvatn – the area around the lake with the same name, famous for the moon-alike landscape and geothermal zones. If I have to choose which place in Iceland impressed me the most it has to be Myvatn.
Before we reached the area we stopped at Godafoss waterfall, known as one of the most amazing waterfalls in Iceland. Honestly I’ve seen better ones but Godafoss was pretty nice too and definitely worth a stop. It was just a foreplay of what we were about to see later on!
The further we went, the more incredible places we’ve seen: Myvatn lake, Dimmuborgir lava fields, Grjotagja lava cave, Viti crater, Hverarond mud pits and Myvatn Nature Baths. I can’t count how many times my jaw dropped with awe on that day, every single place was just too beautiful to be true but my personal favorite was Hverarond.
Click here to see the full itinerary and book the Myvatn tour.
Day 5 – Akureyri to Reykjavik
I’ve decided to take the bus back from the north to the capital. It took 6 hours, the price was slightly more expensive than the flight but at least I could admire the views along the way. And they were pretty spectacular, of course!
Once I was back in Reykjavik I went to Perlan – The Pearl. The view from there is really amazing, second best after Hallgrimskirkja but the building itself offers other attractions too – a restaurant and a cafe where you can dine with a view! The rest of my day in Reykjavik was just spent wandering around, enjoying already familiar city.
I just wish back then I would have been into the street art as Reykjavik is one of the coolest cities with the outdoor art scene! That’s actually the main reason why I want to return there!
Day 6 – Reykjanes – the area around Blue Lagoon
Everyone visiting Iceland stops at Blue Lagoon. Everyone but me. I took the bus to Blue Lagoon but instead of going inside the spa I went for a “little” walk around.
There is a hill nearby and I figured if I can see it perfectly well from Blue Lagoon then the view from the top must be amazing too. And it was, just getting up was challenging and I was rather freaked out at times when the stones beneath my feet were falling down, making the climb pretty impossible. It was seriously one of the most stupid things I’ve ever done, especially that there was a regular road up there, just a little bit further.
As I could see from the hill the waterfront was not far so I headed there, to the town Grindavik, from where I returned to Blue Lagoon, just with a different way, through the lava fields. Altogether it was a great hike around and something unusual as for most of the day I was on my own.
Click here to get bus tickets to Blue Lagoon.
Day 7 – Golden Circle
On my last full day in Iceland it was time for the most popular tour – Golden Circle. Most of the people visiting the country go for it and I had to check if it’s worth the hype. Well, to be honest it was the weakest point of my 7 days in Iceland but still pretty amazing – it’s just that the country offers so many one of a kind places than when you leave Golden Circle for the end you won’t be as much impressed with it as if you’d start with it.
Golden Circle consists of Geysir (that shoots water up to 30 meters every couple of minutes), Gullfoss (ok, this was the best of waterfalls I’ve seen in Iceland) and Thingvellir National Park (where American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet) and each place is spectacular, even if slightly overcrowded. But it is a must in Iceland.
Click here to see the full itinerary of the Golden Circle tour and book it for yourself.
The next morning I had my flight back and so my unforgettable time in Iceland was over.
I feel like I’ve really seen a lot during my 7 days in Iceland, used my time there to the maximum. I was there at the beginning of May so still before the season yet I managed to see all the places without renting a car – while it is handy it is not completely necessary to see the best Iceland has to offer! Use my Iceland 7 days itinerary to plan your own trip! And enjoy Iceland as much as I did!
If you’re looking for articles about any place in particular this map with posts might be useful for you. Or just take a look at the “destinations” page.
LIKED IT? PIN THIS POST FOR LATER!
If you enjoyed that post why don't you share it with your friends? That would mean so much to me! Also be sure to join 27.000+ fellow travelers and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for travel updates and even more pictures! If you don't want to miss new posts sign up to my newsletter or follow on Bloglovin!
Miroslav Hristov26/12/2016 at 09:11
Wow, 1700 photos! Definitely, one has to take a lot of memory card space when a trip to Iceland is planned. Totally agree with you that everyone should visit this place at least once in a lifetime!
kami27/12/2016 at 20:25
Indeed! It’s just too beautiful out there, unreal in a way!
Paulina26/12/2016 at 19:52
Ooo! ISLANDIA! No to nie mogę nie skomentować :D Ale mam wiele pytań, uwaga! :D A jak to kosztowo wyglądało? W sensie cały wyjazd w jakiej kwocie udało się zamknąć (bez lotów na samą islandię)? Ja wiem, że to najbardziej udręczające pytanie, ale już przeczytałam masę kosztorysów i sama staram się za każdym razem znajdywać najfajniejsze wyjścia ;-) No i jak na miejscu się poruszałaś ;-)) w sensie jacyś prywatni kierowcy, znajomi, czy cuś? Pogoda mi wygląda na jakąś majową (albo coś koło tego?) Jak pamiętam gdy orientowałam się w cenach np za autobus to wychodziło nawet i z 400 zł od przejazdu :D O lotach międzymiastowych słyszałam coraz więcej dobrych opinii, choć mówią że zawału serca można dostać, ale że przelot nad wyspą daje niesamowite wrażenia :D Skoro lot tańszy od busa – to jak to wyglądało w kosztach? Weź napisz jakieś szczegóły PROOSZE :D
kami26/12/2016 at 20:12
z tego co pamiętam to niecałe 2 tysiące mi poszły na miejscu – spałam w dormach w hostelach, byłam na trzech wycieczkach zorganizowanych, samolot do Akureyri kosztował mnie coś koło 300zł (w trakcie krótkiego lotu parę razy się z życiem żegnałam, ale widoki były piękne!), autobus powrotny ciut więcej. Jedzeniowo ogarniałam w tamtejszych Biedronkach głównie. Lot mnie kosztował 250zł zł z Londynu, dolot tam był droższy, bo to majówka była ;) może i nie najtaniej, ale skoro byłam sama chyba nie było opcji bardziej po kosztach tego ogarnąć. a i to jedno z takich miejsc, gdzie nie szkoda żadnego grosza :)
Paulina29/12/2016 at 06:43
Ej! To tanioszka i tak jak na Islandię ;-) Lux!
kami29/12/2016 at 09:48
sama byłam zdziwiona jak sprytnie udało się to wtedy ogarnąć, bo wszyscy tylko mówili jaka to Islandia jest droga!
stacjabalkany27/12/2016 at 22:28
Przyznam szczerze że nigdy nie myślałem o wylocie do Islandii. Mimo, że Islandia i Skandynawia rzeczywiście są piękne, to jestem istotą ciepłolubną a w maju to nie chciałbym śniegu oglądać, ale Twoje zdjęcia są fantastyczne, zwłaszcza to z wodospadem. Może kiedyś nadejdzie czas żeby odpocząć od Bałkanów i Ukrainy i udać się gdzieś na północ:)
kami29/12/2016 at 09:47
Świat to nie tylko Bałkany, wiele jest miejsc wartych zobaczenia i to w całkiem bliskiej odległości od Polski :) Islandia naprawdę jest warta odwiedzenia, a w wakacje to i temperatury tam przyzwoite dość! Polecam!
stacjabalkany30/12/2016 at 23:42
No właśnie nie tylko Bałkany, myślę że chyba na blogu spokojnie mogę opisywać inne miejsca, oprócz nich
kami04/01/2017 at 09:47
Twoje to podwórko, możesz co tylko chcesz!
Nabilla23/01/2017 at 06:04
What did you make your visit and how hard was it to travel without car?
kami28/01/2017 at 22:17
It wasn’t that hard at all! I only had to use public transport or organized tours but I’ve seen everything I wanted to!
Adventographer09/08/2017 at 16:17
I have an iceland trip coming up in May but had planned on renting a car as I didnt think you could see much without one. This post has changed that perspective some… I may still rent a car, but perhaps for only one week of my two week trip!
kami21/08/2017 at 19:55
Car is a good option in Iceland as you might get to more remote places but it is possible to see a lot without it too! You will love Iceland, I’m sure of it!
Nicole03/04/2018 at 15:52
Do you have any recommendations on which tours to take for the Golden Circle and Southern Iceland?
kami12/05/2018 at 10:59
So sorry for this late answer! If it’s not too late I can find the names of the companies I’ve used as they were all good!
Chris Murray08/10/2018 at 07:09
Hi Kami, my wife son and I visited Iceland in September 2008. We started from Reykavik of course and did the Golden Circle. Geysir was a bit of a let down but everything else was great. Saw a lot and learnt a lot. Then like you flew to Akureyri but didn’t stay there. We hired a car and started on a circumnavigation of the island. Stayed in Husavik for whale watching. No whales but did see out of season Northern Lights. In a day drive we saw the north coast, Tjornes, Asbergi and Dettifoss including a thermal power station. Then we drove via Myvatn and the Eastern Fjords to Hofn. Amazing geography from high desert to fjords. Via Jokull (the iceberg lake) to near Skogafoss. Has beer-marinated puffin for dinner! Then to the blue lagoon and flight home.
Fantastic place we could not recommend enough.
kami19/10/2018 at 09:23
Hi Chris, that sounds like a great trip! I’m really glad you enjoyed Iceland so much. Happy travels!
Olga01/01/2019 at 15:01
Hi Kami, thank you for this article! we are planning a trip in March for 8 days, plane tickets bought but we cannot rent a car; so we will definitely follow your itinerary! I have two questions regarding it: on day 2 you took a tour of the South, but I imagine it was not the Golden Circle, which you did later. Do you remember what tour you took on the 2nd day? also on day 4 in Myvatn, I assume that you also took a day tour. If you could help with more info regarding these 2 days, would be great! thank you
kami27/01/2019 at 14:45
Hi Olga, the South trip was to Vik, waterfalls and the glacier. I did Myvatn on the tour as well. Here you have tours similar to what I did: https://www.getyourguide.com/reykjavik-l30/south-coast-classic-t72110/?partner_id=3UAO31N and https://www.getyourguide.com/akureyri-l2028/lake-myvatn-classic-from-akureyri-t103019/?partner_id=3UAO31N Have a great trip!
kh17/05/2019 at 20:00
It is useful for people who don’t drive.
Inside Reykjavik, you don’t need a car (at least according to my research)
When you go out off Reykjavik, did you join tour, you did recommend one tour. Did you have to join different tour group on your trip?
How about the hotel? Obvious you cannot book 6 night hotel at Reykjavik. Did you prebook hotels at each location?
since you are on your own (not join the single tour group), if you miss the bus/flight, you may waste the money and get stranded. If you don’t book, you may have problem if the hotels are packed.
That is confusing part I have on multi-day tour with different companies and/or on your own trip without cars.
Actually, it will be same challenge for car drivers except people can sleep in cars (not a good idea but better than sleep outside of the cars)
kami25/06/2019 at 17:26
I explained everything in the post. I joined different tours and stayed in Reykjavik, then in Akureyri, and then again in Reykjavik. I did one day tours and never had any transportation booked for the same day as the tour, to be on the safe side in case something goes wrong.
Lisa05/07/2019 at 15:27
I am planning a trip last minute in a few weeks. I’m wondering if Reykjavik is a fine location for a home base for 9 days. I will not be driving and I am travelling alone and most likely using Airbnb for accommodation so I would like to just park myself in one place and sightsee from that spot with tours.
kami20/07/2019 at 12:22
It depends what you would like to see, there are plenty of day trips from Reykjavik but I think 9 days might be a bit too long. Maybe you could split it between Reykjavik and Akureyri?
D18/05/2022 at 14:33
I note you put at the beginning that you didn’t rent a car for budget reasons, but for 7 days, I would have thought renting a car would have been cheaper than the cost of the flight to the north (and the bus back if you said that was more than the flight), plus all the organised day trips you did.
I’ve been many times to iceland but usually rented a car so have been looking into doing a short trip without one (which is how i ended up on your page). I’ve done all the above so this post probably doesn’t help me personally (though I’m sure it would help others) – but I’d be interested to know the figures on what you spent vs what a car may have cost. I know you don’t drive so wouldn’t have done that anyway, but it may be misleading to others who think they can save money by not hiring a car, when you’ll need to book organised trips to get most places outside of the main RVK area.
kami08/06/2022 at 09:57
It’s been a few years since my trip to Iceland so I can’t recall the exact figures but when researching the trip it was still cheaper to go on tours than rent a car, especially for one person as I was traveling solo.
Magic03/07/2022 at 03:27
Girl, I have to ask – You fell into what hole?! What do you mean lol. Second, I want to do this same itinerary but I want to cut out the flight to that place… What would you recommend I do instead for those two days? Thank you!
kami05/07/2022 at 21:10
haha, I really wish I remembered what I meant ;) I honestly have no idea, it’s been a while since my trip to Iceland.
If you don’t want to fly to Akureyri I would continue the trip a bit more east from Vik, towards Jökulsárlón as this place is apparently pretty spectacular too!